Abrasive blasting known as Sandblasting in Malta
(Image above XN-Teq Sandblasting Malta working in Valletta with dustless abrasive blasting)
It is important to note that there are various types of abrasive blasting, whilst in Malta we generally refer to abrasive blasting as sandblasting; the medium used for abrasive blasting is not always sand. Generally speaking there are two main categories of media used, metallic or non-metallic; furthermore there are different types of blasting methods. Generally you will hear terms like dry blasting, wet blasting, vapor blasting, vacuum blasting, bead blasting, soda blasting and bristle blasting.
Depending on your needs, the material that you are working with and the environment in which the abrasive blasting needs to occur the best solution will vary. As an example you cannot use the same type of blasting on a limestone wall to remove graffiti as you would on a steel surface to remove rust and paint. Modern blasting equipment is generally able to adjust the speed, intensity and type of media used allowing certain equipment to be used on stone as well as steel.
Grit Blasting – What is grit blasting
(Image above XN-Teq Sandblasting Malta vehicle soda blasting)
Abrasive grit blasting is one of the most commonly used types of blasting in Malta and it is the one that is generally referred to as sandblasting. Grit blasting is a surface treatment process that uses different abrasives such as steel shot, steel grit, glass (beads & crushed), aluminium oxide, agricultural abrasive (generally nut shells or corn cob), silicon, plastic, baking soda (known as Soda Blasting), ceramics, copper and other similar material.
Ultimately what Grit blasting refers to is the use of small, loose particles (grit) that is blasted onto the relevant surface.
Non-Grit Blasting | Dry Ice Blasting, Hydro-Blasting & bristle blasting.
Dry ice blasting for example is another type of blasting that doesn’t specifically use a grit based media; instead the carbon dioxide particles themselves and the change in tempreature causes the layer to come off. Hydro-blasting without using a media (no grit hydro-blasting) is also a non-grit blasting method and simply uses water at very high pressure to remove material from surfaces, this is often used to clean surfaces. Bristle blasting on the other hand uses sharp rotating bristle tips (generally high-carbon steel wire bristles) to clean and coarsen the surface. Some in fact do not consider bristle blasting a type of blasting but rather a sanding process.
Sandblasting Malta common types
Now that we have covered the basics of sandblasting (abrasive blasting); it is time we look at the more common types of blasting available in Malta and what they are used for.
Unlike other types of blasting soda blasting is extremely environmentally safe as it’s main media is what is commonly known as baking soda, it is less aggressive then certain grit blasting like metallic blasting, it is affordable and easily and safely rinsed away once the blasting is complete. Soda blasting is for example often used on vehicles that are being refurbished to protect the metal especially if the metal is thing such as that used in older cars as the external body work. Soda blasting can remove paint, grease, stains etc from practically any surface including various types of stones, sheet metal, aluminium, wood and even glass and similar generally softer materials. With softer surfaces less pressure may be used to preserve the surface.
(The vapor abrasive equipment above is available in Malta thanks to XN-Teq leaders in anti-corossion solutions.)
Thanks to breakthroughs in modern science and advanced blasters such as the Graco Ecoquip featured above there is now a new breed of blasters that make little to no mess whilst still delivering an extremely high quality result. Gone are the days of excess media and a storm of particles flying everywhere and a big mess to clean up afterwards; vapor abrasive blasting means that many blasting projects can now be done onsite with minimal to no disruption at all. The short video above covers most of the pertinent points and also shows a comparison between traditional sandblasting and vapor abrasive blasting. Vapor abrasive blasting or dustless blasting as it has become known is faster, equally potent and better for the environment. In fact it is the go to choice.
Other common types of blasting in Malta
Predominantly the main types of sandblasting in Malta are soda blasting and traditional sandblasting, vapor or dustless blasting is becoming more popular due to leading companies providing the alternative to traditional blasting methods.
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